How To Keep a Filing System
Hi friends! Welcome back! Today, I want to discuss how to keep a filing system. First of all, I have written mostly about keeping your life organized and being a productive person. That being said, it all starts with your home and managing your household. You may be a single person of one, or a large family. Regardless of how many members there are in your household, it’s important to sort and organize any paper that enters your home. This goes for digital files as well. It’s important to keep all your documents in one, safe place. Keeping a system also allows you to find something relatively easily when you need it again.
I’m going to start with a quick story. I had a boyfriend that had random crap all over his house. There were cheques (believe it or not) left uncashed, mortgage documents in random places and credit card statements randomly left laying about so his friends could go on a shopping spree. (Not that they would). The point is, everything was in disarray and so unorganized and messy. I ended up cleaning and organizing everything and now he’s in a much better place.
I have some steps that you can follow to create a personalized filing system that works for you. I will also include some extra tips that are pretty important, a supply list and some categories that I have used throughout the years that work well for me.
- Filing cabinet, filing box or accordion file (If you’re single, you may only need an accordian file).
- Hanging Filing Dividers (You won’t need these for an accordion file)
- Manilla File Folders
- File Tabs with Inserts
- Black Sharpie
- Paper Shredder
- Figure out which categories you will need.
- Take every single piece of paper that you have laying around and sort it into piles according to category. (Paystubs, resume, work info could go under work and insurance could go under either home, vehicle or insurance).
- Before actually filing, go through the piles and figure out what you can actually discard (and then shred). (eg: Grocery receipts, old insurance policies, old bill statements).
- Remember: the less paper, the better.
- Banking (Bills, statements, credit card info, investments)
- Business (for me, this is Youtube Info, Giveaway info, Posted videos, Blog/Website Info, Notes, Receipts/Expenses, Tax info, banking information)
- Court Docs
- Health (Health care cards, statements, receipts, bills)
- Home (Projects, Mortgage, insurance policy, renovations, renovation receipts)
- Insurance (Auto/Home)
- Kids (Baby info, health info, school documents)
- Manuals (Toys, electronics, Appliances)
- Organization (blank work schedules, cleaning areas)
- Receipts (Groceries, online, school)
- Personal (Passport)
- School (Yours or your kids, student loans)
- Taxes (Keep 7 years worth)
- Vehicle (Manuals, statements, loan documents, purchase agreements, maintenance i.e. oil changes)
- Work (Paystubs, Resume/ Cover letters, important info, health plan)
2. Add dividers to your filing cabinet based on your main categories.
- Add tabs so they do not overlap, and each one is clearly visible.
- Use sharpie to neatly write the category name on the tab.
3. Add manilla file folders for each sub-category you want to maintain.
- Label neatly
- Add your documents (for added neatness and organization, face all the documents front facing and in the same direction).
- At the end of the year, or each January, go through each folder
- Pull out and shred documents you no longer need (items that are no longer relevant going into the new year). Eg: Your vehicle info is important, but throw away expired insurance policies.
- You have a choice when it comes to important documents you want to keep from year to year. You can keep them in the filing system, or pull them out and put them in a storage box in your basement or storage space. Generally, items I would want to be able to access from time to time, (like student loan documents or taxes) I will keep in the filing cabinet, and everything else will go the basement. That way, you still have the important info on hand, but it’s not taking up space in your filing area.
- NOTE: I always keep 7 years of tax info on hand at any given time.
- NOTE: Most companies offer a digital document delivery option. Consider keeping these on a hard drive, or an e-mail folder and discard after the appropriate time.
- REMEMBER: The less paper that enters the house, the less you have to deal with. Also, not printing saves money and trees!!!
Good luck and HAPPY FILING!!